Category Archives: Green Room

How to Create Blog Content That Goes Viral

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The holy grail for most bloggers is writing content that gets shared organically to the point of going viral. While many people before me have shared tips and tricks about making this happen such as stuffing an article with keywords, submitting it to various social platforms and content aggregators, and posting about it on forums, there really is just one thing you need to do – write content that resonates with people.

Easier said than done you might think, and you’d be right, but here are a few crucial questions you can ask yourself before you publish anything. Doing so will help you create something that your readers will want to share with others.

1. Who do you want to read it?

You need to know exactly who you’re writing your post for so you can use language and cover topics that will appeal to them. Your ideal reader is not everybody. If you’re in the wedding industry your ideal reader is not even ‘people getting married’. It is much more specific than that.

My ideal reader for Rock n Roll Bride is female and between the ages of 24 and 30. She’s planning an alternative, budget friendly wedding in the next 12 months. When it comes to formulating my content, I think about what this very specific person might like to read. There are always people on the fringes, of course, but by targeting this person precisely I am able to write in a much more cohesive way and easily second-guess what their reaction to it might be.

2. How can you help them?

Often it is the things that you think are really obvious that turn out to be the most popular. My Want Great Wedding Photographs? blog post is a great example of this.

Another of my posts that was widely shared was 50 Pieces of Advice for a Happy Marriage. I know my ideal reader is a girl planning a wedding, and so the likelihood is she’ll also be thinking about marriage too. What bride-to-be wouldn’t want to read 50 simple tips that she can easily implement to make sure her marriage is a happy one? This article was doubly successful because it also was an attractive read to those on the fringes that are already married.

3. What personal stories or insights can you share?

Putting your personal spin onto a story will create a much stronger message that one that’s just completely factual. If people enjoy reading your blog the likelihood is that they do so because they like your voice and want to hear your opinion.

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Don’t Wait to Start on Those New Year’s Resolutions – Take Action Now!

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I rarely set New Year’s resolutions and if I do they’re usually just intentions to do certain things better or more productively. Statistically speaking, New Year’s resolutions usually fail anyway so why set yourself up for a fall like that?! But I am a big believer in goal setting. Goals focus the mind and give you something concrete to aim for so you’re not just flailing around and making it all up as you go along (well, for some of the time). However, instead of waiting until January 1st to start that new project, I’d like to encourage you to start working on it right now. Here’s why:

One of the main reasons that I believe starting new things in January is a bad idea is that then mentally you’ve told yourself that you have the whole year to achieve it. This kind of time frame is perfectly acceptable of course, but the real problem is that in January, a full 12 months away from your deadline, there is no sense of urgency so you are unlikely to really jump in to it full steam ahead. Whereas if you start working on your plans now, in December, subconsciously you’ll feel like time (i.e. the year) is running out so you’ll be much more proactive and productive.

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How to Take a Great ‘About Me’ Photo

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I don’t know if it’s just because I’m incredibly nosey, but whenever I go to a new blog or website and enjoy the content, the next thing I want to do is find out what the author looks like. It always nice to put a face to the name after all. A lot of us are afraid of having our photos taken or showing the world what we look like (why!? you are beautiful!) but having one is super important. Using a photo of yourself not only builds trust and makes people feel like they’re talking to/ reading the words of a real person but it’s a great way to filter out your non-ideal clients.

I obviously have quite a strong ‘look’. Some people will love the pink hair and tattoos and that’s awesome, we’ll probably get on great and I want them to keep reading my site. Others will look at me and think “What a hot mess, pink hair is tacky and tattoos are gross!” and that’s fine too, why would I want someone to keep reading my site if they think that? They clearly aren’t going to enjoy my content. It’s actually a great filtration method.

Even if your personal style isn’t a polarising as mine, having photos of yourself on your About page and as your social media profile photo is imperative. So stop being scared of the camera and start embracing the chance to show the world who you are and what you look like!

When it comes to taking a great About Me photo, here are some of the most important things to think about:

The light

Photography is essentially painting with light so it is crucial for taking a great shot. There is no point trying to take the photo when it’s dark. If you schedule in a shoot, make sure you give yourself plenty of time before the sun goes down.

At the other end of the scale, never stand in direct sunlight. The harsh shadows on your face will not only be incredibly unflattering, but you’ll be squinting. Never a good look. If it’s a bright day, find a patch of shade to stand in. The diffused light will be a lot more forgiving.

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Overcoming Nerves

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Whether it’s shooting a wedding, speaking in public or having to send a client their final products, being nervous is a perfectly natural feeling. Although we hate them, and some of us find them massively crippling, nerves are actually very useful. They sharpen the mind, get the adrenaline pumping and really help you to focus. However if you let them they can take over and really get the better of you.

These days I do a lot of public speaking, but in school it was the thing I dreaded more than anything else. If I ever had to stand up and give any kind of presentation in class I wouldn’t be able to sleep the night before and I’d do anything I possibly could to get out of it.

When I was first asked to speak in public as Rock n Roll Bride I was similarly terrified. In fact I’m still utterly crapping it before I have to do it now, but I’ve learnt a few things that have helped me get better at it. I now think back to that first ever talk I had to do (for the British Journal of Photography no less!) and I cringe so much about how bad I was. But you know what, you can only get better each time to do something right?!

Practice makes… better

So I totally stole this line from Paul Jarvis’ new book, Everything I Know,
which I’ve been reading recently (it really is ace by the way). “Perfection is a myth, so practice can never make perfect”, he writes, “In fact, all that striving for perfection can actually lead you away from launching anything. The path to perfection makes it almost impossible to get your work out the door, because nothing will ever be perfect. Focus instead on great enough to launch and perfect enough for your audience to enjoy.”

Contrary to the cliché, practice does not make perfect. There is no such thing as perfect. But what it does do is makes you better. With each and every try you are getting closer and closer to being better, good even. The more you practice something, the less intimidating it becomes, and the better you get at it. Simple.

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Ask for feedback

Before you go to do the thing you’re nervous about, show it to someone who’s opinion you trust and ask for some feedback. Maybe you have a friend in the industry who wouldn’t mind looking over some of your work or you need to do a practice run of your speech in front of your partner.

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You Are Good Enough

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I know what you’re thinking every time you press publish on your latest blog post, share the last photo you took or upload your latest design… please someone like it, please someone favourite that tweet, please won’t someone share the post or say I did a good job… please someone care.  You want to be popular. You hate that word and the fact that it matters, but for some reason you still really crave it.

I know you do it because I do too. Every single time. We are desperate for validation, even if we don’t want to admit it. It’s why we share things online after all. We want someone else to say we did a good job or that we have a talent because inside we’re all deeply insecure.  We’re worried that some day soon people will find out the truth. That we’re really just winging it, that we actually don’t really know what we’re doing and that we’re making it all up as we go along.

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Ten Ways To Get Over Blogger’s Block

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I probably get the dreaded blogger’s block at least once a month. I sit there, staring at my screen, hoping a brilliant idea will just magically hit me. It rarely does of course, but I do have a number of things I do which help me to wriggle through it.

1. Start a new series or project

Giving yourself a new challenge is a great way to over come blogger’s block. You could do something big like starting a whole new business (!) or publishing a magazine (!!), or you could do something more manageable like kicking off a new regular series on your site.

I did this recently with my Marriage Mantras posts. Setting it as a ten part series give me a feasible goal to work towards (I wasn’t sure if I’d have much else to say past ten articles) and tackling a new topic really stretched me as a writer. It also surprised my readers, and showed a new breadth of content. In fact they loved it so much that many of the articles ended up being my most popular of all time!

It can be very easy to get into a routine with blogging, the old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. But changing things up and embracing new ideas not only helps you to re-find your passion, it gets your readers more excited about what you’re writing about too.

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2. Write about something that scares you

It is always the blog posts that you’re afraid of hitting ‘publish’ on that surprise you with their popularity. Why? Because people love to read things that are relatable.

We all have struggles and personal demons, and while I never think you should write about difficult things just because you want some kind of validation, being open and honest about them always garners a big response.

Two of my most popular article of all time where when I wrote about difficult or scary topics.

3. Have a clear out

If you’re stuck in a rut or a blogging slump then have a clear out. Go through your RSS reader and unsubscribe to any blogs that you no longer really read or find inspiring – and then follow some new ones! Same goes with social media. If someone you follow on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook is boring you senseless or being a Negative Nancy, then screw the politics and unfollow them!

Life is too short and new faces will give you a much-needed jolt of inspiration.

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4. Change up your location

It could be a different room in your house, a coffee shop, or even a friend’s sofa! If you’re struggling to focus or to come up with new ideas then a simple change of location can really help you.

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